Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest, Vol. 12

By Ryo Shirakome and Takayaki. Released in Japan as “Arifureta Shokugyou de Sekai Saikyou” by Overlap Bunko. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Ningen

It was about 18 months in Japan between Vol. 11 and 12, and it’s been about the same here in the West as well. I was briefly worried that I’d forget literally everything that had been happening before, but that was before I remembered what series I was reading. Arifureta is not particularly interested in its own plot, or even that much in its characters. Arifureta is interested in people powering up and getting new special moves. The author has clearly drowned himself in Jump series as a kid, and as a result this book, especially the back half, can be summed up by using the “It’s over 9000!” meme over and over again. That said, there is a little bit of character stuff in the front half, but I was less happy with that, as it leans too heavily into an evil cliche stereotype I dislike. This is also NOT the final volume of the series – we’ve got one more to go after this. Fortunately, it’s scheduled for the fall in Japan.

Kaori gets a nice cover art picture, which makes it a shame that she’s the only one not in the main book, getting left behind to guard everyone else and make sure they’re not killed. (She gets a nice short story at the end to make up for it.) The rest of the book is divided almost exactly in half. In the first part, Shizuku, Ryoutarou and Suzu head over to try and beat Kouki and Emi up and return them to their senses. Only one of them actually gets beaten up enough to have that happen, and you can probably guess who. But hey, Suzu gets to say goodbye. In the back half, Hajime is sent ahead to go rescue Yue (which will clearly be most of Book 13), so we get Shea and Tio taking on a whole bunch of apostles and monsters, as well as Freid. Unfortunately, the bad guys seem to have forgotten how our heroines are basically nightmares themselves by now.

So yeah, we get Eri’s backstory here to explain why she’s incredibly evil, and it’s because her father died saving her from getting run over, her mother blamed her and abused her, and she was almost raped by her mother’s new boyfriend. Getting abused as a child leading to a bad person later in life is something we need to see less of. Kouki, meanwhile, remains a shallow parody of the standard shoujo boyfriend, so it’s no surprise that once the mind control is removed and he’s punched a lot he manages to recover what wits he has… though we’ll see what happens when he sees Hajime again. But really the majority of this book is exactly what I said earlier: yelling out attacks, just barely avoiding lethal moves, pulling off near lethal moves in return, and lots of shouting.

The return of everyone’s favorite Zero protagonist at the end of the volume is interesting, and I wonder if she’ll help Hajime in the next volume. Till then: boy, this sure was a volume of Arifureta.

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